After a long hiatus, we are excited to announce that the Difficult Pet Support Group, led by Rachel Bow of the Ruff Mutts Cooperative, will be meeting monthly again starting next THURSDAY, March 23rd, 2017 from 7-8pm.
The next meeting will take place in the Ehmann Classroom at Oregon Humane Society*: 1067 NE Columbia Blvd. Portland, OR 97211.
This is a NEW LOCATION to clients who have previously attended. Please RSVP to Rae at this email address if you would like to attend.
The Difficult Pet Support group welcomes all people who struggle with the challenge of living with and caring for their difficult pet. This group is dedicated to supporting you in managing and honoring your bond, no matter how delicate or difficult. They aim to achieve this by providing a supportive social network to help reduce isolation and stress and by encouraging you to mindfully notice and cherish the positive aspects in your relationship with your pet. You can find out more about this support group and what they’re about here: http://ruffmuttscooperative.com/difficult-pet-support-group/
In line with the goals of the group, there is now a group page on both Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/DifficultPetSupportGroup/) and GoogleGroups where everyone can share personal experiences, advice/tips, and some compassion and relief to one another.
*Suggested donation for OHS of $10.00.
You may already know this from previous blogs, but we’re entering into the time of year that my little dog Vyv likes to call “The Coming of the Dogpocalypse”. Although we’ve had many discussions, I’ve yet to convince him that the sky is actually not falling and that it really isn’t the “End of Days”. My poor Tooty Frooty! What’s a dog to do? Luckily, there are several things that we can do to help our Fearful Fido’s and Frightened Felines make it through this confusing and scary holiday.
Here are Vyvyan’s best tips for making the Fourth of July safe and happy for everyone:
- Exercise your dog early in the day when there is little chance of fireworks going off. Make sure that you have him on a leash or in a fenced in area just in case.
- More pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year! Animals in a fearful state can go to drastic measures to escape their yards in an attempt to find safety. Make sure your pet is wearing ID tags on a properly fitting collar, even if they are microchipped. (Is your pet not chipped? They should be!)
- Keep your pet indoors in a safe area, starting a few hours before sunset. Closing windows and doors, as well as providing some music (like soft classical or specially created “soothing” music) or white noise will be helpful in softening the sounds coming from outside. Be careful playing tv or radio stations as they will often be playing loud, booming patriotic music.
- Give your pet some fun things to do in their safe area. This is when you get to bust out all the fun feeder toys! Fill up two or three with your pet’s meal (and some special treats!) then give them one at a time throughout the evening to keep him busy.
- Don’t be afraid to comfort your pet! Although you’ve likely been told that comforting your pet will reward them for their fearful behavior, it is just not true. Fear is a physiological and involuntary response to danger and thus cannot be rewarded. In fact, if your pet is comforted by your presence, it may make him a little less fearful to be near you. (Good thing too, because I have to carry Vyv around the whole night!)
- Use of body wraps such as the Thundershirt or a calming pack like the Calmz Anxiety Relief System can be helpful in decreasing anxiety in some noise phobic pets. As with any product though, your pet should be comfortable wearing it and shouldn’t be left unsupervised with it on.
- Medications can help. There are several medication choices that may be appropriate for your pet to use. Talk to your veterinarian about what may work for your pet. Do this sooner rather than later as not all medications work for all pets and you may need to do trials with 1 or more medications to find the right one. Be aware though that not all medications are proper for treating fireworks anxiety. Acepromazine is a common sedative that was routinely used for fireworks anxiety in the past. Although it does have sedative properties, it has no anti-anxiety benefits and has also been shown to make animals more sensitive to noises. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) has also been used often in the past, but like acepromazine, it only causes some sedation and does nothing for the anxiety.
- Vyv’s #1 Tip: Start planning for next year! Using a combination of training and desensitization will be key in teaching your pet that those sounds aren’t as scary as they used to be. Since he has been through his training, Vyv continues to run over to me for a tasty treat when he hears the loud pop of a firecracker. I’m so proud!
If you would like more information on how to keep your pet safe this year, or how to help prepare for next year, please let us know!
Have a Safe and Happy Independence Day Everyone!
We’ve got some really exciting news to share with all of you!!! The practice has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years thanks to your tremendous support, and we’ve enjoyed providing care for all of the patients and clients that our team has been able to assist along the way. And now, we’re adding another member to our care team to provide even better service for everyone!
We are proud to announce that Dr. Liz Gray will be joining the Animal Behavior Clinic in July! Dr. Pachel has worked closely with Dr. Gray over the past few years and is confident that she will be an incredible addition to our team. Outside of her experience and education in animal behavior, she also has a background as a general practitioner and shelter veterinarian. She will be seeing cases in the office an average of 4-6 days per month, and will be available at other times for phone rechecks and treatment plan updates. We are excited to bring Dr. Gray’s expertise to our patients, and to accomodate a higher volume of cases seeking behavior assistance with us each month.
Liz Gray, MS DVM, graduated with her Master’s degree from Colorado State in Zoology (focusing on applied animal behavior) in 2002. She then attended veterinary school at CSU, and graduated with honors in 2006. During her schooling, Dr. Gray worked at a local training facility as a dog trainer, and helped to teach an applied animal behavior class to her fellow veterinary students. Dr. Gray has worked in general veterinary practice, as well as shelter behavior and medicine, for the last 10 years. She is currently the behaviorist and one of the veterinarians at the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend, OR. Her specific professional interests include parsing out the physical contributors to behavioral changes in older dogs as well as addressing the unique behavioral challenges faced by rescued and rehomed animals. Dr. Gray enjoys volunteerism, and goes to Playa del Carmen, Mexico every year to volunteer at a 6-day high volume spay/neuter campaign. For fun, she enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, spending time with her two daughters and husband, and rehabilitating the omnipresent foster animals. She has two pets of her own: Kali, a rescued Mexican street dog, and Oscar, a fabulous orange tabby cat.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Gray to the practice!!!